Sponsored feature: Kia: From perception to pavement

There’s a tiger within the room. Or quite, it’s the signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille of Kia. Impressed by the highly effective face of the Royal Bengal tiger, the corporate first unveiled the face of Kia on a sports activities coupé idea on the Frankfurt Motor present in 2007. Through the years, this imaginative and prescient has resulted within the institution of a constant design DNA throughout the Kia mannequin line-up. The tiger-nose grille is simply one of many particulars that illustrate Kia’s dedication and its deep understanding of design. For the unbelievers, right here’s one thing to chew on: In 2018, Kia shared the stage with a Ferrari at a prime design award – however extra on that later. For now, let’s check out what’s behind the scenes at Kia design.


The pinnacle of design at Kia, like a movie director, orchestrates a group of over 250 in design studios the world over – Namyang, Korea; Frankfurt, Germany; Orange County, California; and Tokyo, Japan, amongst others. Speaking about design being a driver, a designer at Kia says, “Kia has made its identify as a challenger model, as an organization that has the ability to shock, and as a design-driven model. We predict having a constant design language all through the entire product vary helped rather a lot to create model consciousness and to create a picture of Kia as being one massive model. You’ll be able to inform a Kia from a distance.” What he’s speaking about is Kia’s household face – the tiger-nose grille. Kia has created a visible signature as highly effective as its model emblem. The signature grille, headlamps and model emblem type a singular and constant household look that has advanced through the years and is now so frequent on the roads that folks immediately recognise the model from a distance; or in the dead of night.


At Kia, design doesn’t start with a clean sheet of paper. It begins with conversations with folks
who will at some point purchase a Kia automobile. That’s as a result of design is not only about shapes, strains, or elaborations. It’s about instilling soul right into a model and making clients captivated with it. That’s why Kia engages and interacts with folks the world over and throughout segments – to achieve a extra intensive understanding of tips on how to make the model extra thrilling and enjoyable. The following step is to search out inspiration. Designers at Kia discover inspiration on the earth round us – the style through which adjustments in mild illuminate an object, the best way issues operate, the delicacy of stability, how issues sound, and even the physicality of a stable object. A Kia design should create true pleasure by igniting ardour and difficult the mind, by reflecting class, and by creating magic. On the core of Kia’s design philosophy is the simplicity of a straight line. As one other Kia designer explains, “There isn’t any straight line on a automobile, but it surely’s about simplicity and pureness, like a snow crystal – very architectural.” Straight strains signify readability, precision and distinctiveness – traits which replicate the imaginative and prescient of Kia’s designers.


SKETCHING AND RENDERING: The true job of placing pen to paper begins a couple of quarter of the best way via the design course of. It’s solely after an in depth evaluation and understanding of client wants, life-style, and traits that the sketching and rendering of the preliminary design ideas and concepts are executed.

TAPE DRAWING: A easy black tape is a vital instrument within the design course of at Kia design studios. Designers create idea sketches of automobiles on an upright floor like a wall on a 1:1 scale issue, utilizing tapes. Not solely the character, however the actual quantity will be recognised with a couple of hanging strains. The principle motive for these full-size upright sketches is that designers and managers need to decide and consider the precept curves of a design as early within the design course of as attainable.

DIGITAL MODELLING: At this stage, state-of-the-art digital applied sciences come to play within the design course of. From two-dimensional sketches, CAS (computer-aided styling) designers create a digital three-dimensional automobile to evaluate the design and aerodynamics.

VR MODEL REVIEW: Due to digital actuality (VR), Kia is dashing up the method of getting a automobile from notion to pavement. By strapping on a wi-fi headset, designers can see, edit and work together with each ingredient of the automobile in a digital world. What occurs if we decrease this just a little? If we alter that, how will it have an effect on the general design? This new know-how reduces the time it takes to overview and focus on adjustments. It additionally permits for extra immersive interactions between designers and engineers.

1:1 SCALE CLAY MODELLING: Thus far, the automobile designs have been two-dimensional, however now the form-finding course of turns into three-dimensional – and the design instrument they use shouldn’t be a high-tech supercomputer or digital actuality, however venerable and defiantly low-tech clay fashions. The design is dropped at life in three-dimensional type and in unique measurement, permitting the designers to fine-tune surfaces, strains and particulars. The clay mannequin can be used to check the aerodynamics of the automobile in
a wind tunnel.

COLOUR AND TRIM: A automobile doesn’t simply have to look good, but it surely should really feel good too. Along with the look and the shade of the paint, the feel of the surfaces, the color of the upholstery, the cushioning of the seat, the detailing of the switches – all add as much as the feel-good consider a automobile. Each little element is crafted and polished to perfection earlier than a automobile will get the Kia signature.


Kia has gained a cupboard stuffed with awards for its design. Nothing fairly demonstrates its design chops just like the Purple Dot Awards. For these within the know, ‘Purple Dot’ has turn out to be established internationally as some of the sought-after seals of high quality for good design. The Kia Optima gained a Purple Dot Award for Product Design in 2016 within the class ‘autos’ with the best distinction, the Purple Dot: ‘Better of the Finest’. It shared the honour with the Ferrari 488 GTB!

In 2018, it was the Kia Stinger’s flip to win the Better of the Finest Automotive Design award on the Purple Dot Awards – and these are simply two of the quite a few design honours that Kia has picked up through the years. The story of Kia design is an evolving one. At the same time as you learn this, a group of individuals sitting the world over is busy at work designing the subsequent Kia blockbuster.

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